School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Collections of paint colour charts, paint tins and paintings as a source for developing an understanding of paint making history
    Dredge, P (Museums Australia, 2011)
    A project looking at a collection of painting items from a studio used by the artist Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) from 1951 to 1953 is beginning to grapple with the subject of house paint technology from the pre World War II period up to the mid 1950s. Sidney Nolan was particularly engaged with house paint as an artist’s medium, and it seems sought information from paint makers to obtain a deep technical understanding of these complex paint systems. A number of additional collections of paint material held in Sydney museums have been identified that hold potential to provide new information on paint resins and pigments. A collection of historic paint colour charts which use the paint itself in the swatches of colour, and a collection of early synthetic paint resins from 1934-1937, are both valuable sources for analytical standards and the dating of technologies in Australia.
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    The use and characterisation of aluminum-based metallic paints in Australian paintings of the first half of the twentieth century
    Allen, L ; Dredge, P ; Sawicki, M ; Puskar, L ; Wuhrer, R ; Chemello, C ; Collum, M ; Mardikian, P ; Sembrat, J ; Young, L (Smithsonian Scholarly Press, 2019)
    This paper presents the results of research into the composition and use of metallic aluminum paints in three paintings by Australian artists from the first half of the twentieth century as well as a contemporary can of aluminum stove paint. A brief history of the development of aluminum paint and its uses is presented. The material characteristics of aluminum powders and binders used with them are described, as well as the effects variations of components have on resulting paint films. Analyses found leafing aluminum flakes and nitrocellulose binder on two paintings and identified coumarone as the binder for the stove paint.
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    Predicting the Past: A critical examination of current art history and conservation curricula.
    Wu, C ; Dalivalle, M ; Dempster, A ; de Ghetaldi, K ; Griener, P ; Roberts, M ; Sharp, J ; Skelton, S ; Sloggett, R (AiA, 2016)
    This document is a critical analysis of the current status of art education in art history and art conservation as it relates to the concept of authenticity (as defined as “authorship”). It has been constructed by students and professionals from different specialities and continents. The headline problems, raised by current art history students, have been observed in several art history and conservation programmes by the Work Group, who suggest potential solutions. These are targeted at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral levels.
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    Building evidence for use in criminal cases – standard practice and methodologies: a case study in Australia
    Sloggett, R ; Kowalski, V (AiA, 2014-05-07)
    In criminal and civil investigations relating to art fraud, the question of how evidence is gathered is as relevant as the question of what is gathered. The sensitive nature of the evidence also means that often the sharing of information between professionals, such as curators, gallerists and art historians is minimal and restricted. Sometimes art historical accounts provided as evidence can be difficult to verify against properly referenced data, while the materials analysis data can be open to various interpretations. In addition, assertions of art fraud have been met with action for libel. As a result, the lack of an integrated analytical and investigative methodology can hamper investigation, making conviction difficult. As an interdisciplinary study conservation is seen to provide ‘objective’ scientific data that can explicate and verify propositions about the source or history of an artwork. Drawing on work undertaken at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (CCMC) this paper discusses the development of standards, methodologies and guidelines for data collection to strengthen prosecution procedures and meet the evidentiary requirements of the courts, and explains why conservation provides the critical and objective procedures useful in bringing forward a successful prosecution for art fraud.
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    Assessment of the effect of nitric oxide-based treatments on biofilm formation: A comparison with biocides used in paint formulations and the treatment of cultural heritage
    Kyi, C ; ROUSE, E ; Sloggett, R ; Cather, S ; SCHIESSER, C (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 2013-10-22)
    Biocides are chemical substances used in the treatment of damaging biological growth. They are commonly added as ‘preservatives’ to paint formulations to prevent biofouling. They are also applied in the control of organisms responsible for the biodecay of cultural material. The demand for sustainable, low-toxic alternatives to conventional biocide use, requires a more sophisticated approach to biocidal systems (Denyer & Stewart 1998). We have investigated how the anti-bacterial properties of the free-radical molecule nitric oxide (NO•), when used in combination with commercial biocides, can enhance their efficacy.
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    Building a legacy in contemporary art in Timor-Leste
    YEATS, L ; PATERSON, F ; Sloggett, R ; Danabere, I ; Simaun, M ; Bridgland, J (Pulido & Nunes; ICOM-Committee for Conservation, 2014)
    Arte Moris is an artists' collective that was established in Dili after the destruction that resulted in the aftermath of the Popular Consultation. In 2012 a series of interviews were conducted with staff in Arts Moris. These interviews identified youth-oriented art programs as an effective framework for building cultural and educational product in a future Timor-Leste.
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    Evidence and authenticity: the problem of cultural relativism in conservation decision-making
    Sloggett, R ; Mairesse, F ; Peters, R (ICOFOM & ICOM-CC, 2019)
    Cultural materials conservation is, at its essence, concerned with knowledge transmission, with the construction of authenticity providing confidence in the security of this transmission. Discourse around cultural difference often problematizes attempts to provide singular approaches to conservation decision-making. Examining how an authentic record is constructed in diverse communities in Australia and Southeast Asia demonstrates the use of the same methodologies used to verify authenticity, thereby contesting cultural relativism as a useful construct in conservation decision-making.
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    Preserving the Past: How to ensure the development of the conservation profession in Australia is preserved for the future
    Pearson, C ; Lyall, J ; Sloggett, R ; Cook, I (AICCM, 2011-10-19)
    The first AICCM conference “Conservation in Australia”, which was held in Canberra in 1976 at the Australian National University, was organised by the few conservators located in Canberra. The intervening 35 years have seen changes in the organisation and conservation profession. This 2011 AICCM National Conference, “Conservation in Australia: Past, Present and Future”, now back in Canberra, will allow us to view where we have come from, and examine the challenges for the future development of the AICCM and Australian conservation profession.
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    Cultural Cosmologies of the Internet: Situating Digital Networked Technologies in Diverse Moral Universes
    Wiesenfeldt, G ; Maddow, A ; Sinanan, J ; Carter, M ; Horst, H ; Spencer, M (University of Illinois Chicago, 2019)
    In this panel we consider how social actors situate uses of technologies within systems of moral norms and values while at the same time compelling the creation of new ones. Popular discourse tends to present dualistic thinking of the positive and negative impacts of technologies. Scholars have engaged with the internet and digital media, emphasising emancipatory subcultures (Coleman 2014; Gehl 2016, 2018) or presenting a critical view of the constraining aspects of networked technologies (Fish & Follis 2019; Fuchs 2014; Lovink 2016). These approaches are complimented by scholarship that considers technological practices and how they are embedded in social and cultural cosmologies (Burrell 2012; Horst & Foster 2018; Miller et. al. 2016). We argue for a closer integration of these bodies of scholarship through an examination of the contentious moral economies operating in emergent social spaces. The panel interrogates the relationship that social, political and economic actors have between their own ideas about what is good, appropriate and right and the diversity of orientations towards trust in techno-bureaucratic systems. We draw attention to immaterial systems and consider the social relationships and individual and collective imaginations that shape the production and experience of networked technologies. Through the papers, we articulate the forms of negotiation, resistance and refusal that occur when diverse moral universes, techno-regulating systems, and the conditions in which people find themselves collide.
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    Simplicity in Complexity: Trends and Future Directions in Caring for Collections in Australia and Southeast Asia
    Sloggett, R (National Heritage Board, 2019-11-29)
    Southeast Asia and Australia are characterised by diversity in culture and custom, language, history, climate, religion and belief, methods of government, and economic capacity. Such diversity poses particular challenges for universal approaches to museum development and management, and in particular for practices, policies, and procedures relating to the care of collections. Conversely, diversity provides fertile ground for regional approaches, provided that decisions result from targeted research, the sharing of knowledge and resources, and the development of protocols and procedures that reflect the diversity and acknowledge the various capacities, including in economics, in literacy and language, and in law across the region. In this lecture, Professor Robyn Sloggett examines some of the pressing issues in collections care that need to be addressed across Australia and Southeast Asia, and explores current trends, initiatives and future directions for the care of the rich, diverse, and very important collections that exist in the region.